Now, the New York-based restaurant company hopes lightning will strike twice with the opening of ZZ's Sushi Bar in Miami's Design District in early April.
Major Food Group (MFG) partners Mario Carbone, Jeff Zalaznick, and Rich Torrisi, have tapped two of NYC's best sushi chefs to run the restaurant and private membership club: Kevin Kim and Masashi (Masa) Ito, both of whom worked at the Sushi Zo in New York.
Zalaznick says diners will be able to get up close and personal with the chefs at the restaurant's 15-seat sushi bar, which will offer an omakase experience. "Masa and Kevin will serve beautiful fish brought in from Japan," says Zalaznick. "They're going to provide guests with a special experience."
Along with the sushi bar, ZZ's Sushi Bar will house a 100-seat dining room with indoor/outdoor seating, an outdoor cigar lounge, an indoor cocktail bar, and several private areas. The restaurant, designed by Ken Fulk, will have a "fun and tropical vibe," according to Zalaznick, who adds, "We work with Ken on most of our projects. He's in our DNA and we love working with him."
The menu will also include raw and cooked dishes with a focus on seafood sourced from Tokyo and a large offering of Wagyu and Kobe beef. Steaks will be prepared over custom-built charcoal grills, and Ito and Kim will create a line of sushi rolls, lobster dumplings, and line-caught crispy snapper.
The cocktail menu, created by MFG mixologist Thomas Waugh, will offer modern takes on classic cocktails, including a dashi martini, a Japanese rum highball. and a hojicha green tea old-fashioned.
Zalaznick describes the membership program as next-level customer service. "It's the way we really get to know our guest — from the cocktail they drink to whether they prefer still or sparkling water." The MFG partner declined to reveal membership prices, saying interested parties should inquire.
Though many New York restaurants have moved into South Florida amid the pandemic, Zalaznick beat them to the punch, moving himself to Miami a year ago. "I love it here and I think the Design District is the most exciting neighborhood in Miami," he says.
ZZ's Sushi Bar is a far cry in concept from Miami's first glimpse of MFG's efforts with Carbone, but Zalaznick says diners should expect a similar level quality and service. "We're not your normal restaurant group. We want the experience to be very thought-out and perfected."
And while rigatoni and sashimi are vastly different, Zalaznick says the restaurants share the same philosophy. "We approach every cuisine and every concept to tell a complete story. Not only is the food fantastic and delicious, but every detail has been looked at and curated so it makes sense."
Zalaznick and his partners are bullish on Miami and its future, and they promise more establishments in the near future to augment their local portfolio.
Says Zalaznick: "I think in the next five years, Miami will be the epicenter of food in America."
ZZ's Sushi Bar. 151 NE 41st St., Ste. 117, Miami; zzsclub.com. Opening April 2021.